Due to its brilliant hue of purple, the longstanding color of power, the amethyst has been associated with royalty since its early history. A very old gemstone, the amethyst was used as a decorative stone by prehistoric humans 25,000 years ago, on the tombs of early Egyptian pharaohs, and on English regalia in the Middle Ages. In its long history, many properties and myths have been ascribed to the amethyst, including its association with Saint Valentine, who was said to wear an amethyst ring carved with an image of Cupid. The amethyst is also the traditional gemstone for the sixth wedding anniversary.
Large Elizabeth Gage ring, 18k yellow gold, carved amethyst and white & purple guilloche enamel with pearls, English, circa 1990. Josie at Place Gallery.
The word “amethyst” is derived from the Greek word “amethystos,” which means “sober.” According to Greco-Roman myth, Amethyst, a young devotee of the goddess Diana, fell afoul of the god of wine, Bacchus, who set his tigers on her. Amethyst called on Diana for help and the goddess turned the girl into a sparkling, white stone. In remorse for his cruelty, Bacchus poured his cup of wine on her, turning the stone a deep purple. Thus, in ancient Rome, amethyst cups were used for wine to prevent drunkenness. See more of the varied uses of amethysts in the Manhattan Art & Antiques Center collection here.
Engraved evening bag, engraved silver set with rubies, sapphires, amethysts & emeralds, Italy, 1930s. Gallery 47.
A modernist-designed perforated “collar” surrounds this beautiful amethyst brooch, 18k gold & amethyst, American, c. 1960. Clifford Baron Gallery.
Signed Zig-Zag cuff bracelet by William Spratling (1900-1967), sterling silver and amethyst, Mexico, circa 1940-1946. Leah Gordon Gallery.
Kayo sterling silver hand-hammered stopper with an Arts & Crafts floral design on an amethyst colored glass perfume bottle design, Native American, 20th century. Estate Silver Gallery.
Pair of Indian Moghul earrings, featuring carved amethysts, diamonds, gold and enamel, circa 1890. Alexander’s Antiques Gallery.
Mexican sterling silver bowl, decorated with three incised loops and Cabuchon amethysts, circa 1940-46. Signed William Spratling (1900-1967). Leah Gordon Gallery.
Victorian necklace with a fleur de lis detachable pendant, silver and Cairngorm stones of amethysts and citrine, Scotland, 19th century. Melody Rodgers Gallery.